The Colt rested in her lap. “You better wake
up in the morning, Mr. Latimer because I
don’t want to have to explain a dead man in
my cabin to the sheriff.”__________________________________
"Emma of Crooked Creek" Excerpt
THUNDER WOKE EMMA FROM the first decent night sleep she’d had in months. She looked around at the dark room. It wasn’t the crash of thunder or even that grizzly her neighbor swore she saw last week. The front door of the one-room cabin reverberated as the pounding continued.
Emma reached for her husband’s old Colt Navy Revolver, the only thing he’d left behind when he went to fight and die in the war. Her husband had taught her how to use the pistol on the long wagon ride out west, but only small critters ever saw the bullets from the well-oiled gun. She pulled back the lever and pushed away the heavy quilts.
On bare feet, she moved along the wall to the small window by the front door. The moon was high but dim, and all she could see was the outline of a man hunched over. She stepped back when the thunderous knock was accompanied by a plea.
“Anyone in there?”
Emma considered not responding. No lamps were lit, but the remnants of logs burned in the fire. The man would not believe the cabin was empty, and if he did, he might decide to come in anyway.
“Who are you?” Emma quelled her nervousness.
“Thank God. Casey Latimer, ma’am.”
Emma slowly lifted the bar blocking the door. She moved a few paces back. “Come on in but be warned. I’m armed.”
The door swung open and the man stumbled inside, falling at Emma’s feet.
“If it’s all the same to you, ma’am, I’ll just stay here.”
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